The Smart House of the Future: Meeting The Challenges of a Clean Energy World


 The Energy-Connected Home of the Future
Wind and solar energy are now cheaper than the fuel and operating costs of existing coal and natural gas power plants.  But this clean, low-cost energy is produced on a variable schedule that makes it hard to provide reliable service without expensive energy storage investments.  But there is a better way.
The home of the future will help solve this.  It will include:
•    On-site solar generation
•    On-site battery storage
•    Ice-storage air-conditioning
•    Grid-integrated smart water heating
•    Smart appliances for laundry, dishwashing and refrigeration.  
•    Electric vehicle charging that seeks the low-cost hours
•    And the ability to provide grid services including voltage support, frequency regulation, and even reserves.  
What will all of this cost?  Less than you think.  Consider this – even the cheapest smartphones today have more processing power and memory than NASA had when Neil Armstrong stepped out on the moon.   
Consumers will save enough with advanced pricing to easily cover the cost.  New building codes will ultimately require most of this in new construction.  
What do we need to do to ensure this happens?
•    Advanced pricing for electricity
•    Appliance standards
•    Advanced Building Codes
•    Smart energy control networks
•    Customer-friendly tech support.
Where are we seeing some of this today?
•    Austin:  ice-storage air conditioning
•    NEST:  millions of smart thermostats
•    Sacramento:  smart electric heat pump water heating
•    Queensland:  Direct load control of millions of appliances and pumps
•    Washington State:  New appliance standards
•    New Brunswick:  Smart water heater leasing programs
Objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear.


Jim Lazar
Senior Advisor
Regulatory Assistance Project

Jim Lazar is an economist with more than 40 years experience in utility resource planning, energy efficiency, and energy pricing.  He is an author of handbooks on energy efficiency, electric cost allocation methods, energy pricing, and electrification.